April 23, 2018
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Adopt A Family this Christmas season

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Meredith Bean, a receptionist at Manna, reviews the cards of people who have signed up for Manna’s 2012 “Adopt A Family” program. Behind Bean is a Giving Tree decorated with paper bulbs marked with specific clothing items that needy Mainers have requested. Generous Mainers are invited to stop by Manna at 629 Main St., Bangor to “adopt” a family and purchase presents for its members this Christmas season.
By Brian Swartz, Weekly Staff Editor

Help make this Christmas season a good season by providing new clothing and household items for less fortunate Mainers.
Manna has started collecting presents for people signing up for the non-profit agency’s “Adopt A Family” program. “We assisted 1,000 people in 2011. I think we’re going to top 1,000 this year,” said Manna Executive Director Bill Raye.
Under the program, people come to Manna at 629 Main St., Bangor and fill out cards that list each family member by age and gender and indicate a “need and a want” for that individual, Raye said. The “need” or “want” often involves clothing, bedding, dishes, or cookware. All desired items of clothing — winter boots or coats, shirts, etc. — are listed by size.
As in past years, the need is great. “We’re giving out to the mom and dad who are sacrificing everything for the sake of their kids,” Raye said. Parents “come in here wearing shoes with holes in them and thin slacks and summer coats. They need new coats and boots, a set of pots and pans” to prepare family meals.
“We’re not taking care of our elderly. We hear from them that after they’ve bought food and paid the bills for the month, they don’t have anything left over,” he said.
Raye estimated that of the 1,000 people assisted by “Adopt A Family” in 2011, “500-600 were adults. The rest were children, infants through teen-agers.”
Generous Mainers can support “Adopt A Family” by stopping by Manna and selecting an individual or family to buy presents for this Christmas. Manna desires new clothing and household items because “this is the one time a year we need to bless people with something new,” Raye explained.
After purchasing presents, people can wrap and return them to Manna or bring them to Manna for wrapping; gift recipients will either pick up their presents at Manna, or Manna volunteers will deliver them by Christmas.
People interesting in financially supporting “Adopt A Family” can:
• Mail a check to Manna, 629 Main St., Bangor ME 04401:
• Donate online at www.mannamaine.org.
“All the money that gets donated [at] this time of the year goes to Christmas,” Raye stressed.
“Whatever your finances allow you to do this year will be greatly appreciated,” he said.
With the theme “Christmas is for Everyone,” Manna is helping less fortunate Mainers in other ways this holiday season, too. On Monday, Dec. 10, Manna staffers set up a Giving Tree near the interior entrance to J.C. Penney at the Bangor Mall. Like a similar tree set up at the Manna offices, the tree is decorated with paper “bulbs” that are each marked with a particular gift “need”; people can take these “bulbs,” purchase the indicated gifts, and drop them off at Manna or with volunteers staffing the Bangor Mall Giving Tree.
Manna will host a Christmas party from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Christmas Day at the Bangor Parks & Recreation Center, located at 647 Main St., Bangor. Santa Claus will visit to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to children, and Manna volunteers will serve a Christmas dinner that includes “turkey, ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and all the pie you can eat,” Raye said. Admission is free.
“Many [party attendees] are elderly persons who don’t want to home by themselves on Christmas Day,” Raye said. “We invite everyone to join us for our Christmas party; Christmas is all about giving to others, and that’s what we’re trying to do this season.”
While more people are signing up for “Adopt A Family” in 2012 than in 2011, “donations are down this year,” he said.
“This community is a good community, and I have faith they (supporters) will come through,” Raye said.

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